(Editors note: This is the first of many future “I try it so you don’t have to” columns from one of So Good’s new contributors, Lemmonex. Look for the column each and every Wednesday morning).

My father once read the label on a Kraft Single and said, “Cheese food? If they have to tell me it is food, I don’t think I should eat it”.

My pops, he is a wise man. The thing is, there is an alarming amount of things out there, in the aisles of the grocery store, that I look at and think, “That is a food? People actually eat that?” These things need a label proclaiming, “Made for human consumption”, because I have my doubts.

The supermarket is chock full of weird, bizarre, random, and perplexing offerings. Some of it has been around for ages, inspiring years of confused contemplation, and some are new brands that make me wonder “Who thought this up?” Some of it looks disgusting, I am sure some of it is tasty, but I know all of it strikes a certain chord of fear in my heart. So, out of this morbid curiosity, “I Try It So You Don’t Have To” was born. I will be here every Wednesday sacrificing my taste buds and digestive tract for your reading enjoyment.


What better way to kick off things off than with something that has haunted me for ages: Potted Meat. Drink it in, folks…POTTED. MEAT. What kind of meat is in this product, you ask? Why, mechanically separated chicken and beef tripe, of course. I had my doubts, but this turned out to be far worse than I could have even imagined.

Smell: The smell is reminiscent of wet cat food. I knew this was going no where good.

Texture/Appearance: The pinkish brown colored “meat” was oddly gelataneous and loose at the same time. I was surprised how easily it slurped out of the can, yet the remnants held the shape of the tine marks from the fork I used to scrape the can. The goo had slightly grainy texture, almost as if you pulled out the insides of a hot dog, soaked it in water for about a week, and then ground it up.

Taste: It was…not okay. I pride myself on having a fairly strong constitution and I had to give myself an internal pep talk in order to swallow a second bite. I nearly heaved. The taste is reminiscent of bologna and hot dogs. And, boy, does the taste linger. I had to eat a pickle and then, ten minutes later, a spoonful of peanut butter, in order to kill the toxic tingle that remained on my tongue.

Final verdict: Don’t do it. The combination of the potent smell, funky texture and putrid taste is enough to make even the strongest individual cry. This was truly revolting; I am shocked that someone would eat this if a gun weren’t being held to their head. Also, if you are any thing like this girl, you will be treated with a severely upset stomach. I had a brief moment while chewing this where I wondered, “What have I gotten myself in to with this column?”, but I have to believe I have sampled the worse and it will only get better from here.


Lemmonex snarks about food, life, and all her self-defeating decisions almost daily on her blog, Culinary Couture.

35 Responses

  1. B

    I had a brief moment while chewing this where I wondered, “What have I gotten myself in to with this column?”

    Oh, be afraid; be very afraid.

    Hope this is the worst, but hope that you keep these coming – as a fan of your blog and a fan of So Good, I’m (so) psyched to see you posting on here, and especially in a funny, engaging, if gross, way. Thanks, L! Keep up the good work! (Also, thanks for having her, Jon.)

  2. shiftlessbadger

    Uhhhhhhh… mechanically separated chicken is something that no one should be subjected to. And it’s first in the ingredient list. You are brave. Very brave.

  3. Ashley

    You brave soul….I wish you much luck and look forward to reading in the future =]
    As a side note….my mother actually LIKES potted meat.

  4. Youppi

    second great first post by new contriubtor. way to find ’em, eick.

    nice work Lemmonex.

    potted chicken and beef tripe… ok. excuse me one second while I go yarlf.

  5. Ben

    After a long night of drinking, reading that may have made me want to vom (but in a good way). If you can stomach more bologna I suggest Olive Loaf: low quality scraps of meat ground together with olives suspended within the substance. As I understand it, this is a delicacy enjoyed by no one under the age of 70. Perhaps combine with spam and make the worst sandwich ever?

  6. zipcode

    ick, that brand is the worse actually, I think the other brand as a little devil guy on it, but yah cat food pretty much.

    God bless you for trying that.

  7. suicide_blond

    ok..so ….just being devils advocate here…maybe there is some “recipe” that needs this stuff???
    i mean why do they stock this stuff??

  8. Lemmonex

    Thanks everyone…it really was quite horrific, but I will suffer for you!

    As far as recipes go…the only thing that “needs this stuff” is the dumpster. Humans should not be eating this.

  9. Food Rockz Man

    I’m not sure this column will have its intended effect . . . I mean . . . now I kind of wanna try this stuff to experience the nastyness. I’m not right in the head. But I’ll be back weekly and will contemplate following your lead.

  10. restaurantrefugee

    This is the only thing that you have written that was difficult for me to read. It was – as is your style – beautifully written, thoroughly evocative of the subject. But potted meat – wow, did you take one for the team.

  11. Phil

    Suicide_blond is on the same thought pattern as me….is there any “recommended” way to eat this anywhere on the can? Do they recommend you heat it?

    It does sound completely horrific, and thank you for eating it.

  12. Lemmonex

    On the can, there is a picture of it in a sandwich with lettuce and tomato. I just ate it on a piece of bread so I could really absorb the full experience.

    Seriously, the thought of heating it makes me feel really ill.

  13. FoxyMoron

    that was laugh-out-loud good. people in my computer lab are starting to stare.

  14. Barbara

    It made me wonder who actually eats this stuff. How many cans would you need to feed a family of 4? Maybe if you were homeless and/or starving, it would look live a variation on pate? Well, maybe not.

  15. Duckey

    This looks horrid do people actually eat that? My health food blog would not approve but hey… go you for exploring!

    Duckey x

  16. Adam

    I lived on a small island in the Pacific for 2 years and we ate a lot of this kind of stuff. (Canned meats are very popular when your food comes in a shipping container that’s been sitting on a ship for a month.) Spam is the best of this category of food, and I use both the term food and best lightly. But all canned meats can be improved in a stir-fry. The rice cuts down on the heavy salt and soy sauce helps to cover the flavor too. I’ve also had potted meat sandwiches which are pretty horrific. If you can find it, I would suggest trying canned corned beef. It’s my very least favorite of the canned meats.

  17. Ack!

    A person can learn to eat alot of things when you are broke enough. The origination of the term “potted meat” goes back to a time before modern refrigeration and canning methods. Meat (mainly ham) was preserved for the winter by layering it in a crock (pot) with alternating layers of meat and lard, then putting it down in the ol root cellar for the winter. It worked to extend the usable life of foods out of season. I guess these days it has become some sort of catch all term for a hash of meat related products potted together in a can….ew…after looking up the ingredients, I don’t think I can ever eat that again, I don’t even know what tripe is….

  18. Megs

    When I was growing up in the South, my grandpa (“Paw Paw”) always stocked this stuff in the kitchen cabinets. Once or twice I had to resort to it for an after-school snack. Maybe it was my childhood iron stomach, but I didn’t think it was quite as bad as you’ve described. Don’t know if I could eat it now, though! I suggest you try (if you haven’t already) Vienna Sausages, usually found on the same shelf with potted meat at the grocery store, and also found alongside it in my Paw Paw’s kitchen. Note: this is pronounced “vye-ee-nee.” Great post!

  19. KevinB

    I don’t hold any brief for the Armour product, which sounds horrible, but potted meat has been a staple in the UK and many parts of the Commonwealth for years. It was conceived as a way to both make use of the “ends” (leftover pieces of real beef and chicken, not just tripe), and to preserve it without refrigeration. Typically, the meats were ground into a puree, put into the pot, and then topped with aspic (a type of bland gelatin). The aspic would flow throughout the mixture, and then coat the surface, protecting it from bacteria.

    I stayed at a B&B in Scotland in 2001, and as part of the afternoon snack, I was offered her homemade potted meat on toast points. It tasted quite like a pate, though not so rich and fatty (she didn’t use liver), and the aspic added an interesting texture. It was very good, and I had to stop myself from hogging most of it. Potted meat can be very tasty.

    The Armour product described sounds typical of the worst practices of giant American food companies – take a good, simple food, and make it horrid. As examples, I offer: McD’s “shakes” (so-called I’ve been told because they don’t actually contain milk). I’m sure the original McD franchises actually made their shakes out of milk, ice cream, and syrup, until some corporate type realized most people equated thickness with goodness in milk shake (which of course meant it was made with a higher ice cream/milk ratio than a thinner shake). So out with the blenders, and in with the pre-mix which contains enough thickeners that it requires the sucking power of a $5 hooker to get it through the straw.

    Next on my list: fish sticks. A nice piece of battered and deep fried fish has been enjoyed for centuries in the UK, and for many years on both US coasts, along the Great Lakes, the Mississippi, and more. I don’t care whether it’s cod, scrod, lake perch or catfish; done correctly, it’s fantastic. But the corporate fish stick? Batter without taste or texture, and fish without flavour. Feh.

    Finally: apple pie. I remember my mom’s pie – tender, flaky crust on top, a slightly firmer one on the bottom to hold it all together, and in between, lots of apples with a just a bit of sugar, cinnamon, and clove. I’m sure everyone remembers their mother’s pie. But the corporate ones? Tough, gluey crusts on both ends, filled with tasteless, mushy apples and enough sugar to make your dentist happy.

    Armour potted meat may well be as horrible as the writer posted, but don’t give up on the idea; just this particular execution.

  20. Brett

    Potted meat is the EXACT same ingredients of hot dog franks. The difference is that the franks were formed and slightly cooked.

    Potted meat is best enjoyed with saltine crackers and and ice cold coca-cola.

    so you guys barfing at the potted meat. You’re still eating it in every hot dog you enjoy.

  21. Lena

    My mom made potted meat sandwiches all my life and we LOVED them. It was a combination of potted meat, egg, minced onion and sweet pickle relish. I just had one today and they are still just as scrump del-e-ishous!!

  22. chris

    armour potted meat was once pretty good. Then they took out the partially de-fatted fatty tissue (pork) and replaced it with mechanically separated chicken. Now your right it sucks.

  23. By the case

    Holy crap lol. Unapplealing even at first sight. Does Armour use mechanically separated ‘all kinds of meat’ in their products? Because I swear their vienna sausage was like that too.

  24. Roseanna

    hey when you grow up poor like i did potted meat was like our steak sometimes my moma was a single mom working to feed two kids and starving herself to feed us. even to this day i go back and fix it the way moma did and i still enjoy it but i also find ways to make it better because i know some kid or adults don’t have the pleasure of potted meat

  25. Bunny

    I was eating a potted meat sandwich as I read this xD I grew up with it as many poor kids and families have. I sometimes crave it. I like mine on white bread with miracle whip =] I got my husband eating it, he loves it too, now. He likes it plain on bread–tried it with miracle whip today and says he likes that even better…he also likes to toast a couple slices of bread and spread it on while the toast is still warm. I’m going to try and make a salad type with the remainder of this can, like tuna fish but with potted meat =D

  26. Nathaniel R Hamrick

    I grew up relatively well-off, but both of my parents were from Alabama. Growing up in California, they had potted meat and I loved it. I had some as a teenager, and I’d eat some now.

    I don’t eat pork but I’m okay with eating any part of an animal that is nutritionally viable and salvageable.

    Dad grew up very poor and I am very fiscal. My taste for potted meat has nothing to do with being poor, it has all to do with respect for food.

    Anyway, sorry you hated it. It’s not cat food any more than tuna is cat food. Later.

  27. Ray Gleason

    I have read several comments regarding this food, Potted Meat Product. Many remind me of the students in school many years ago who stuck up their noses at our school lunches (back in the 60’s our school made all the lunches from scratch), throwing most of the food away. Those were usually the same people who hated Spam, but never tossed out greasy fat filled donuts or hesitated to down a half dozen beers.

    It seemed to me that if it wasn’t exactly what mom made the kid couldn’t stand it… and trust me when I say that some of those moms couldn’t boil water without burning it.

    I was a teenager before I had my first taste of shrimp, high school before my first stake, and it was many long years after that before I ate at some of America’s finer eateries. I had to learn to enjoy those ‘finer’ foods because the taste and texture was so strange and different to me.

    Truth be said, I don’t believe it’s the quality of the food but the training of the taste buds that make something eatable. It wasn’t until the seventies that Mexican, Chinese, and other such foods became popular in the US. It took a long time for Americans’ taste buds to accept these foods, and it was mainly because of the thought of eating it, not the taste.

    Pan potted meat if you wish, but I’d rather eat a case of that than one can of caviar. Why? Because caviar (fish eggs) just sounds so gross to me. I have no other logical reason for it.

    So just remember, that great juice drink, or wonderful tuna stake you may savor might just taste like s*** to someone else.

    In this day and age safety of our food should be more important, and there lots of ‘high quality’ foods out there that are no better for your body than Potted Meat Product. It appears there are a lot of well to do high rollers getting cancers and other uglies in this day and age, and I’m sure they not consuming those terrible salty cans of potted meat.

  28. JoeSnow

    You’re eating it wrong! You don’t eat potted meat straight from the can with a fork. You spread it thinly on crackers or bread. The flavor is way too strong to eat it by the forkful. You also have to balance the saltiness with something or else your mouth will be overwhelmed by it. There’s also a lot of fat and cholesterol so eating it straight from the can is out of the question. Using it in recipes where the salt, fat and cholesterol get thinned out by the other ingredients is best.


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